How To Write An Article That Sells

This is a guest post by Anne

You’ve done the hard part. You found a brilliant idea for your article and you know exactly what your keywords are going to be. Now all you need to do is to put together an article that makes sense, one that gives all the information you want to share, in a way that is readable and succinct. You want to write an article that will be accepted by your editor or client – one that’s so impressive they’ll keep coming back to you for subsequent jobs. How do you do this? How do you write an article that makes your writing stand out above all the other brilliant writers on the web?

Develop your skill and technique for writing articles

You can have great article structure with everything in the right place. You can also be the best at keyword-littering throughout your article. However, if you haven’t got the skill and technique for actually writing the article, your work is dead before you’ve begun. I really admire successful writers on the Internet who’ve to write competitively in English against native speakers like myself. There are millions of writers who fall into this category and we have to take our hats off to them. Developing the skill can be one of the hardest stumbling blocks to writers who publish online, but thankfully, there are lots of ways to combat this.

Oni has many sound writing articles on his site including this one called, How I Write A Complete Article From Scratch. It’s beneficial to subscribe to writing blogs like this one and take some free online courses in punctuation and grammar. I’ve written a few grammar and punctuation articles which can be accessed for free on the web. However, here are some additional ways in which you can broaden your writing skill.

1. Use a thesaurus to widen your vocabulary. Your writing reads more fluently if you have a larger vocabulary.

2. Invest in a good grammar book and teach yourself better sentence structure. No matter how great your advice is, readers will be distracted by grammatical mistakes in your post.

3. Do your research right. Readers like to see figures to validate your points. However, if you’re making them up to impress, someone will catch you out. You will never be trusted again and all the hard work you did to build up your brand will have been wasted.

4. Always be yourself. Please don’t try to sound like someone else. Sure, they’re really popular because of what they do. However, remember that their success is partly built on who they are. They’re far better at being them than you are. The flip side of this is that no one is as good at being you as you are. Use this at your advantage. Don’t try to fit into and around their trend. Instead, make a trend of your own. You’re sure to succeed with yours because you understand it best.

Make your ideas for articles the ones that stand out

The best ideas for articles hit you when you’re not looking. This is why, in order to write articles that sell, you have to always carry a notebook to jot down these eureka moments. Sometimes I swear I’d remember my ideas because they seem so brilliant at the time. However, it only takes about ten minutes to forget them. The thing is, there’s hardly any unique topic left for writers to write about. The Internet is saturated with all kinds of articles and you can find virtually anything you want, already covered in detail by several writers. All this means is that you have to find a hook that makes the viewers swing your way. I don’t believe in being controversial to get traffic. I prefer to ask questions or tackle the subject from a humorous point of view. Here are some other ways you could make your ideas pop.

1. Do your research to find out how the article has been covered before. Find the angle which was most popular and take the opposite approach. For example, the topic of finding love has been extensively covered on the web. Flip this idea on its head and write an article about 5 most painful ways to dump someone.

2. Write an article that’s unique by using a personal experience. You can bet no one else can write such an article because your life is distinctive. You can apply this principle to almost any topic you have to cover.

3. Reading is a great way of building up your writing skill. It also gives you ideas for a vast amount of article writing.

4. Become an expert in your hobby and start writing about it. This alone will give you hundreds of options for article writing. The more you know about a subject, the more you have to share to others and the better you can teach them to follow in your footsteps.

Pay attention to the structure and ‘feel’ of your article

Hard copy articles and books have their own structure. When I studied writing I was instructed to read about 4 issues of any publication before submitting work to them. I was told that each publishing house has their unique rules and ‘voice’. Any article submitted therefore, had to complement their ‘house style’ or they won’t publish it. I ignored this warning and went on a writing rampage. I wrote dozens of great articles and sent them to all the hard copy magazines I’d ever heard of – without paying attention to their individual format. The result of this negligence on my part was widespread rejection. Some of them didn’t even bother to reply to me. I said that to say this: writing an article on the Internet needs to follow a ‘house style’ as well. No matter how great or informative your article is, it’ll soon be buried under the virtual slush pile of similarly great (or even better work) if it doesn’t follow the format of article writing on the web. Here are some crucial formatting to follow when writing an article on the Internet

1. Treat each article as your virtual CV. Never publish without first editing thoroughly.

2. Use at least one optimized image within your article. Learn why it’s vital to optimize your images here. The recent rise of Pinterest and Clipix makes it even more important to have better, more optimized images.

3. Use sections with bold (or larger) headings to make your article easier to read or skim.

4. Additional bonuses: do a ‘revision’ or ‘takeaway’ at the end of each article to recap the main points you’ve made. Readers and editors appreciate that. It’s also a helpful and clever way to build up your word count if you need to.

Use keywords throughout your article

This doesn’t’ apply to hardcopy magazines, but one of the most important things about writing online is to understand the importance of keywords, and know how to use them. If you were looking for writing course on the Internet you would type in ‘writing course’ into your search engine. The results that appear at the top of your search results page would obviously be those pages with high page rank and a good amount of back-links. However, one of the most important factors of getting your articles at the top of these search results page, is how relevant it is to the search query. This is where keywords come in. Your keywords must be used multiple times throughout your article, but in order to create an impressive article that sells, you need to be able to achieve this as cleverly and as unobtrusively as possible. Here are some crucial points on understanding and using keywords when writing an article online.

1. If possible, bold, italicize and underline your keyword once (for each element) in your article.

2. Go to Google Keyword Tool. It’s free to use. Type in your keyword in the ‘Word or phrase’ panel. Type in your captha, and scroll down see the results for how people are searching for that phrase. Note: you can toggle the ‘broad’ and ‘exact’ options to see related and exact terms respectively. Once you’ve found the terms people are using to find your keyword, you can also pepper these around on your article. This keyword tool can be used in several other ways, but I never write an article without first consulting it to find the best keywords within any particular topic.

3. If you’re asked to use a certain keyword throughout your article, but can’t find ways to use it naturally, be crafty and use statistics on the Internet by saying the following: ‘I typed in the phrase (for example) ‘how to write an article’ in my browser and found that … search queries were made for that term this month. Or, what does the term ‘keyword here’ conjure up in your mind? You may’ve always thought ‘keyword here’ was an unpopular phrase, but to me ‘keyword here’ is…’ There are so many possibilities. I suggest keeping a note of them to use when you’re pressed for time.

I have other ideas which are beneficial for writing articles that sell. However, I’ve now exceeded a thousand words and will have to keep those thoughts for a follow-up post. Please do share How To Write An Article That Sells on your favourite networking sites so that other writers can benefit from it too. Thank you

Anne is an author and freelance writer and blogs at her writing blog, A Blogger’s Books, where she’s written a series called, ‘How to Write An Article Online’.

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  • http://seoebooklab.blogspot.com rambabu seo

    thanks anne for this article actually i really need this sort of infortive tips how i can improve my writing in order to form good articles for readers!

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      You’re welcome, Rambabu. Please let me know if I can help in any other way. Writing sound, helpful articles is the first step to building loyal readers.

      • http://seoebooklab.blogspot.com/ rambabu seo

        Anne, what i feel problem sometime during speaking or writing i am not able to use good vocabulary rather i know such vocabulary, this is major problem i really feel . .trying to practice myself more to prepare on this area to use during speaking or writing . .Now what you suggest me to follow .. i would love to take your guidance for improving on this! One more i have an SEO Social Media blog to write many interesting articles for readers!

        • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

          Hi Rambabu, your site does not load, so I can’t see what it’s like. I’m an editor, so if you have any pages or articles you need editing, let me know. Your main pages should look professional or you may lose readers. You can see what I offer on my site.

          In the meantime, I have a page called, ‘Free English Lessons’ on this particular site. (I don’t want to link to it here because I don’t want to be rude). Have a look at these articles. They should help you with the basics of English language rules etc.

          You’re definitely doing the right thing. Practise will help you improve.

          • http://seoeguide.blogspot.com/ rambabu seo

            thanks for kind suggestion . .i have followed you twitter, also clicked facbook ..found to be the same link place as in twitter. .check out there is something wrong if someone wants to engage with your social media facebook page!

  • http://www.corinnekerston.com Corinne

    great step-by-step tips. I especially like the one about carrying around a notebook. I did exactly that when I had to come up with 3 topics per week for a previous client. Ideas for blog posts can come from anywhere

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      Definitely, Corinne.
      And ideas pop up in the most unexpected places. I always think I’ll remember my eureka moments when I think of an amazing idea for an article. Half an hour later – all I can remember is the moment, NOT the idea. :-)

      A notebook is really helpful to me.

  • http://www.adsensetips.dk jesper

    It always amazes me how much work you get of your hands. I try to keep up, but it is hard;-)

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      You just have to manage the time better. Social networking is not as important as many people say it is. Time yourself with a stop watch and log off the Internet when it goes off.
      Make yourself a time table and stick to it. You’ll see how much more productive your writing is.

  • http://www.carnivalgoa.com/casino/ Goa casinos

    Writing is that kind of option which can do many things for you if you will go ahead with right ways then many reader will follow you and offer you to write for himself and make more money. Beside that many options are available to improve your writing skills through online free tutorial which is already mentioned in this post.

    Thanks for sharing these valuable things for newbie.

  • http://learnblogtips.com Rahul kuntala

    The best tips I can give about enhancing the writing skills:
    1st phase: Read popular blogs
    2nd: Analyse them, how they’ve crafted, first few lines etc(don’t just read)
    3rd: Apply
    4th: You’re done!

    Though it’s not simple as I said. But, it improves one’s writing.

    BTW I like the articles with short paragraphs, because they look more appealing. Good tips from you Anne :) We want more articles from you.. Onibalusi, listening?

    I want a feedback from you about my writing Anne.

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      I’ll check out your site, Rahul. Thanks for your addition to the article.

      • http://learnblogtips.com Rahul kuntala

        Thanks for your kind feedback Anne :) I’m glad with your visit. I hope I will get over my writing problems soon. I will be in touch with you till then.

  • http://www.jamienorthrup.com Jamie Northrup

    Research is key, if you just throw out words without checking anything you can put your foot in your mouth. A well researched post can fetch a lot more money.

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      …not only money (because this on its own is not all-important). It can also raise your portfolio and gain you respect as an expert in your field.

      Thanks for adding quality to the post.

  • http://codesprints.blogspot.in/2012/04/phpmyadmin-not-working-ubuntu.html Dinesh

    I would suggest you to focus on the way you present information instead on the way you write that information. Nobody on internet reads the entire article.

    In order to put forward the main part of your content do something to make that part look different from the rest post body.

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      Thanks, Dinesh. I did cover this in the middle part of the article.
      Also, just wanted to point out that many people will read the entire article if they think it will help them. I read every word of some articles I come across and I’m sure this is the case for many others. This is the key to having them stay longer on your blog. I have an article about this on my blog. Let me know if you want me to point it out to you.
      Thanks for your comment.

      • http://codesprints.blogspot.com Dinesh

        It doesn’t matter how long they remain on your blog. Today people are more connected to their twitter account rather than their fb accounts, though they spend a lot more time on FB.

        The main point is to make then connect with your blog.

        • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

          Hi Dinesh,

          I agree with you that it’s vital your readers connect with your blog.

          This connection of course, will depend on whether you provide a service to them or not. I think a large part of blogging for a lot of people is NOT only about getting traffic and making money, but about helping people. I know this is the case where I’m concerned.

          Writing great articles automatically makes people stay on your blog for longer because you’re helping them solve a particular problem, or giving them information in a way they’ve never seen it done before.

          I think it does matter how long people stay on your blog, Dinesh. It matters to the blogger (knowing that you’re providing a service) and to Google when it comes to PR rating and your bounce rate. A successful blog is one with a great atmosphere, good interaction with readers/bloggers etc, and a platform which is useful to people in that particular niche.

          Without having done the necessary research, I can’t say for sure if people are more connected with twitter or fb. One thing I know is that an online presence on either (or both) of these sites can really make the difference where connecting with a blog is concerned.

          Thank you for your discussion. I appreciate it.

  • http://www.indiastudybuzz.com Sanjeev

    Hard work is the key of success.

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      Yes, and writing is hard work! :-)

      • http://www.cyberdesignpk.com Kevin Marshall

        Agree Anne :)

  • http://www.cyberdesignpk.com Kevin Marshall

    Wow.. I used to be searching for this and at last acquired it from this post. Thanks for making it easier.

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      You’re welcome, Kevin. Please share it with anyone you think may find it useful. Thank you.

  • http://liveonblogs.com sreekanth@ create online living

    thanks for all the tips you give here
    Im also a freelance writer earning ,money online
    i love to read your articles for inspiration

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      Hi Sreeknanth, Thanks for your comment. Do you have any more tips on creating an article that sells? Perhaps you’d like to share them?

  • http://ndhmoney.vn Huy Nguyen

    I love your post, Anne. It’s very useful for new bloggers as me.

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      You’re welcome, Huy. I have written several articles geared towards helping new bloggers find their feet. Let me know if you need me to point you in their direction.

  • http://www.snapdeal.com/ deepak

    dont u think that using the exact volume of the keywords in an article decreases its originality … there should be no limit for writing a article … no limit of keywords and no limit of thoughts …..

  • http://hpshappywriting2.blogspot.com HP van Duuren

    Thanks for your post Anne,

    ‘You show a lot of Interesting Insights,
    do you also possibly have a special take
    on how to (Pre)Sell Books by
    Writing Book Reviews?’

    Because recently for one of my Review Blogs I wrote a Book Review and I was wondering if there might be some special - possibly somewhat similar approach - that could help to make them Sell?

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      I’m not sure about that. I’ve been trying to sell my self-published books, but haven’t been able to crack the code to success as yet. I have a publisher for one of my books coming out in a couple of months. They just sent me a marketing schedule and they seem to have identified blogs/magazines/radio stations/bookclubs in the niche, and contacted them for interviews etc. I think this approach will work better than reviews. However, this is my opinion, based on limited experience.

  • http://www.diarywriter.com Koundeenya

    Really an interesting article.Writing content isn’t meant to be just a writing to get sold in good number. It has to be interactive, affective and interesting too

  • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

    You’re right, Koundeenya. Thanks for your input.

  • http://www.mind2billion.blogspot.com AFOLABI SUNKANMI

    A good write up there Anne. Bloggers love to write for traffic but I think writing to solve major problem should be the real tip to drive massive traffic. To write a good article in some cases demand a passion for writing, if the passion is there then the rest is to build on avoiding grammatical errors. Thanks Anne I will follow your word

    • http://www.abloggersbooks.com/2011/09/e-books-for-free.html Anne @ writing site

      That’s fab, Afolabi. Feel free to let me know if there’s any other way I can help.

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